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2012 and the Technology Blahs 130

Posted by timothy
from the end-of-the-world-nigh-monetize-now-now-now dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Generally, at the end of the year, predictions stream forth as to how this or that new technology will transform the world in the next 12 months. Just before Christmas, IBM announced computerized mind reading was just around the corner — sometime after 2017, that is. But on the whole, experts and analysts don't see a whole lot of innovation coming out of the U.S. anytime soon. Instead, they see sluggishness. 'We'll have to wait for consumer spending to go up before the 'flying surfboard' arrives,' said Chris Stephenson, co-founder of Seattle consulting firm ARRYVE. 'Bigger innovation labs and companies are holding back on numerous innovations until they can properly monetize them.'"
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2012 and the Technology Blahs

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  • by InterestingFella (2537066) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:03PM (#38504794)
    TechCrunch has an interesting predictions on how HTML5 and 2012 will change the web [techcrunch.com].

    Apart from making the whole web more interconnected between different websites, web browsers starting to look and behave more like iPad, complete with push notifications and geolocation, and HTML5 ads replacing majority of flash based ads, the article also predicts that browser makers will start to introduce App Stores within their browsers. In fact, Chrome already has one.Facebook will also get a lot more seamlessly integrated with your desktop, including file system access, photo syncing and widgets on your screen. There will also be an increasing amount of HTML5 based social games and online cloud based apps that replace every functionality you needed desktop apps for. All of these changes and features will start to blur the line between desktop and browser and will also bring your social graph more closely into contact with your traditional desktop experience.

    • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:11PM (#38504900) Homepage

      Marketing speak decoded:

      • "Push notifications" -> ads rammed up your ass
      • "Apps" for browsers -> pay per view content
      • "HTML5 ads" -> ads take over the whole screen.
      • "Facebook will be seamlessly integrated into the desktop" -> all your info belongs to us
      • by cosm (1072588)
        They need to sell marketing speak decoders to dub over everything that gets spewed by the mba vermin.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smi.james.th (1706780)

        "Apps" for browsers -> pay per view content

        Permit me to respectfully disagree. I use a few of the Chrome apps, mostly like offline GMail and Google Calendar because I have extended periods away from an internet connection when I still need to be able to access these things. Chrome Remote Desktop is quite useful as well. Sure, pay-per-view stuff may arrive, but I doubt it will even become a major thing.

        • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:47PM (#38505346) Homepage

          In the beginning it's free or really cheap... then you get hooked on it and then the costs keep going up. Are you like 18 or have you not noticed this general trend where the consumer is concerned?

          If there is a way to exploit the consumer with technology, they have ALWAYS done so. Everything you do, everything you see, everything you eat, every breath you take, every move you make... it's worth something to someone and they will always do everything they can get away with to capitalize on it. The only areas which aren't being exploited are either prohibited by law or new enough that they haven't yet figured out how to best exploit.

          • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:24PM (#38505698)

            Are you like 18 or have you not noticed this general trend where the consumer is concerned?

            Are you like 18 that you have no self-control or disposable income? I have about 40-60 apps on my Android. I paid for exactly one, because it was a non-trivial app that I use every day, for at least an hour to two hours. The rest are all free. Exactly one comes with ads, and I only have it because it's a fun game to play with friends (I won't mention the game because I don't want to give extra publicity to the game, and because I don't want to admit that I actually support the company via ads).

            Do some research on what you use, and you can live a nice, uncluttered life filled with useful apps that don't cost you a dime. And if you do find a particularly nice one, do the right thing and donate.

            Then the poor schmucks making the app won't have to turn to the dark side to make a living.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            In the beginning it's free or really cheap... then you get hooked on it and then the costs keep going up.

            I was thinking the same thing earlier this morning when I was making a JE about games. Back in the DOOM and Duke Nukem 1 days, they gave games away, or at least enough of the game that it was a full game. When I registered DN1, they not only sent two more levels (actually two more DNgames), but a third, unrelated game as well. By the time Quake came around the shareware model was almost gone, but you had

        • I have to admit, reading that I kinda chuckled...
          "offline gmail" - POP/SMTP client
          "offline google calendar" - iCal subscription to google calendar or I hear Windows has some sort of "subscibe to calendar" feature

          • Yes, I realise this, I'm not a total noob.

            I just usually use these things in my browser, I hate having a million and one applications installed when I can just use one. I used to use the Offline bits with Gears in Firefox but that was killed some time ago. I just prefer to do things this way.

    • by grimmjeeper (2301232) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:16PM (#38504986)

      That's all I need. A browser that gives away all of my personal information so that advertising creeps can push sell a lot of crap on top of the web pages I'm trying to view. And on top of that it's going to make me use a very clunky "touchscreen" style user interface full of downloadable craplets rather than taking advantage of the keyboard and mouse that my desktop has always had.

      Call my cynical but I really see all of this as the web going downhill. Sure, there are great new technologies that can make things better. But as with any tool, it depends on how you use it. In this case, it's not being used to make anything better.

      Oh yea, I almost forgot the obligatory "get off my lawn" statement...

      • by RKBA (622932)
        Amen. Where are my mod points when I need them, arrrgghhh! You deserve some upvotes.
      • by erroneus (253617)

        Stop running MSIE, Chrome or any other browser from a publisher which might seek to make a buck from you. Best bet is an OSS browser which has been forked and rebranded and sanitized by privacy interest groups.

        • I use Firefox, which probably isn't the best. But NoScript and Ad Block Plus make a huge difference. It's amazing how many websites use scripts from Twitter, Facebook, and google-analytics.

    • by vlm (69642)

      online cloud based apps that replace every functionality you needed desktop apps for

      Already almost there, at work.

      We downgraded from a opensource web based ticket system to a local client home grown POS ticket system that doesn't work as well. This I'm sure will move back to the web.

      We still have ms office installed although people are starting to use web alternatives for convenience whenever possible.

      Our current CAD system does not have a web viewer. I'm sure that will change eventually. Maybe the cheapskates just have not paid for it.

      There are a couple weird engineering apps of the $$

  • by earls (1367951) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:07PM (#38504834)

    Invent a flying surfboard.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      no, first you have to get the name right. it's called a Hoverboard(tm), dammit! you have to invent a Hoverboard(tm)!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The depressing part is that this is not only true but the status quo.

  • With our headstrong exponential growth of scientific/technological progress, I guess *not* revolutionizing the world within 12 months is sluggish. But we have nothing to be ashamed of, our .6 GTPY (Global Transformations per Year) is perfectly good. :P
  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:10PM (#38504892)

    What if consumer spending never goes back up, adjusted for inflation?
    I know that adjusted for inflation the median has had less income every year for something like 40 years.
    Also .edu, medical, car/transportation, energy, food, and housing costs have recently been exploding.
    Then add in "new" expenses. Very few people were spending $150/month on smartphone bills more than a couple years ago.
    Leaving less money for consumer spending every year.

    so... those companies who wait, might be waiting a very long time indeed, like until they go out of business.

    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:14PM (#38504940) Homepage Journal

      Also .edu, [...] costs have recently been exploding.

      I know how you feel! Those domain registrars are nuts. How are we supposed to get by if the fake university websites we set up to fool our parents are unaffordable? ICANN should do something.

    • by Animats (122034)

      What if consumer spending never goes back up, adjusted for inflation? I know that adjusted for inflation the median has had less income every year for something like 40 years.

      That's what "competitiveness" is all about. Wages decline until they're just above survival level. This eliminates most discretionary consumer spending, and the economy stabilizes at a low level. That's the "free market" applied to labor. Your life will just barely work, forever. Deal with it.

      • by Feyshtey (1523799)
        So you're suggesting that capitalism desires that people have no money to spend to support the businesses that require their spending?

        Putting that logic trainwreck aside for a moment....

        The alternative is that the government will mandate economic controls and dictate what will be made, at what level of advancement, by whom, and to whom it shall be given. It would be wholly irresponsible for that government to spend on advancements that merely provide luxuries. The "people's" money should instead be sp
        • by Animats (122034)

          So you're suggesting that capitalism desires that people have no money to spend to support the businesses that require their spending?

          Right. Capitalism is dysfunctional in that way. What individual businesses want isn't necessarily optimal for businesses collectively.

          Here's the CEO of Wal-Mart complaining that his customers are running out of money. [cnn.com]

          • by Feyshtey (1523799)
            Wow. That's an incredibly... creative take on the article you pointed to.

            The only aspect of "businesses collectively" that's even relevant in that article is the passing comment about increased fuel prices causing less spending capacity of the customers. This particular article is speaking to the sales of Wal Mart being a barometer for the spending of the nation, and they were noting declining sales. The CEO discussed how Wal Mart made some bad choices and reduced variety of goods rather than prices and
      • by russotto (537200)

        That's what "competitiveness" is all about. Wages decline until they're just above survival level. This eliminates most discretionary consumer spending, and the economy stabilizes at a low level. That's the "free market" applied to labor. Your life will just barely work, forever. Deal with it.

        There's a reason economics is the "dismal science". This is just an application to the individual of the maxim that marginal profit under perfect competition is zero.

  • Never mind the mind reading. When the mind writing starts being used more (at the moment I can't remember when that will be) by forces up to no good, those aspiring for truth and justice will often find themselves in interesting and infuriating trouble.

    • by jabbany (2425264)
      Simple, just invent a sandbox to prevent mind writing from doing damage to your private thoughts.
  • The Word Monetize (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:14PM (#38504944)
    I am really starting to hate the word 'monetize'. Let every utterance of it be a reminder why government funded scientific research is important. I know this article is referring to more consumer oriented things, but much of our current technological wonder (internet, rocketry, about a million other things) is a long byproduct of government research. Now before I get called a pink-commie-bastard and the like, let me just say I am all for capitalism and its benefits. However, the frequency of this concept of 'monetization' as a stimulus for development seems almost foolhardy. Call me an idealist, but I like the idea of scientific and technological advancement for the principal of advancement, not just for the sake of making more money. Again, idealist viewpoint. I know.

    And yes I know that a demand for XYZ creates incentives for business to develop/produce/be competitive. But the trend is going towards areas of research that have a high-risk / low-reward ration being foregone if everything is free-market, and technologies that can't possibly be implemented without 20+ years of research will rarely have private/corporate money sunk into them, even though in the long term they could have a dramatic positive impact on the quality of life for the human population.

    Or is it all about the money these days? Any hard-liner Adam Smith's here? Money solves all woes, right? Right?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Any hard-liner Adam Smith's here? Money solves all woes, right? Right?

      Adam Smith never made such a claim.

      If we could monetize your stupidity, then we'd be able to do away with scarcity, like on Star Trek.

    • the premise of the article is pure bullshit. if someone had a flying surfboard they most certainly wouldn't sit on it so that they could monetize it - they would be monetizing it already. if you look at money poured at research, I'll bet you'll find it's more than ever before. it's just harder to come up with something people need which makes sense, is practical and what people would actually want and would help people(and not just essentially be a toy, like a new way of toggling a switch).

      personally, I'd l

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roman_mir (125474)

      Gov't funded anything shouldn't happen.

      Gov't funded research is there for war, that's one of 2 purposes:

      1. War.
      2. Theft.

      There is only 1 things that politicians really want to spend on: themselves.

      There is only 1 thing wrong with democracy: voters.

      --

      The rockets, the computers, the Internet, the phones, the electrical power and electrical instruments, everything we do, we do because we are trying to make a better living for ourselves. Tsiolkovsky developed the theory of rocketry, but until the private sector

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      You realize Slashdot has found the way to monetize posts such as yours?
  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:14PM (#38504946) Homepage Journal
    People that try to innovate get sued, or stopped by widely broad patents/copyrights, promising new technologies never see the light (remember sixthsense?) because "something" gets in the middle.

    A few recent examples just in the Android field were that android device makers have to pay Microsoft because using/suporting the fat filesystem, Oracle suing Google for using Java, Samsung get their tablets out of the market because their dimensions looks a bit like the ipad ones. Not saying that it was the example of innovation and new ideas in computing, but the kind of unbreakable barriers our current civilization built to stop any try to build a future.
    • People that try to innovate get sued...

      OK.

      android device makers have to pay Microsoft because using/suporting the fat filesystem

      "Innovating" by using a 20 year old file system. As mentioned by others, if they would use a more modern filesystem they'd be clear.

      Oracle suing Google for using Java

      "Innovating" by blatantly copying Java without paying any dues. (hint: they could have designed a new language/platform instead of ripping off J2ME)

      Samsung get their tablets out of the market because their dimensions looks a bit like the ipad ones

      "Innovating" by ripping off the design by Apple.

      Not saying that it was the example of innovation and new ideas in computing

      Then what is so "innovative" about Android anyway? That you can run a bastardized version of Linux (a 20 year old OS) on a phone?

      I don't mean to dismiss the general notion that ther

      • by gmuslera (3436) *
        How good would develop/be adopted be a new device that can't connect with anything else? Still, Microsoft weren't after linux, or after google, they went against anyone that could be successful trying to use that technology, taking as base something ripped off from more than 30 years ago.

        Regarding java and Linux, originally at least was meant to run apps in a vm, java was the most known language for that, but could had require enough changes to need something new. And Linux was a good OS to run that VM over
      • Not like the alternatives are much better, if raw year count is your sole measure for how good of a decision it is to use a specific operating system.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:17PM (#38504994)

    The risk of being sued for patent infringement is sufficiently high to prevent me from bothering. I wonder how unique I am in this regard.

    • by Animats (122034)

      The risk of being sued for patent infringement is sufficiently high to prevent me from bothering. I wonder how unique I am in this regard.

      Not very. I have five patent plaques on the wall behind me. For me, the risk is not being able to collect for infringement because of high litigation costs.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        The risk of being sued for patent infringement is sufficiently high to prevent me from bothering. I wonder how unique I am in this regard.

        Not very. I have five patent plaques on the wall behind me. For me, the risk is not being able to collect for infringement because of high litigation costs.

        Bigger risk is if something I invented actually became significantly profitable. Then any well-funded corporation or troll with an overly broad patent could come after me, and I couldn't afford to defend myself.

        And, if you could persuade a patent troll that your patent applied, I expect you'd be tempted to let them buy it from you so they could come after me.

        • Bigger risk is if something I invented actually became significantly profitable. Then any well-funded corporation or troll with an overly broad patent could come after me, and I couldn't afford to defend myself.

          Start a corporation, pay yourself a big enough salary (we ARE assuming you are significantly profitable, right?), and then when you are sued, have your corporation declare bankruptcy and release the software as open source. All your money will be protected and you'll be rich.

          There are a lot of schemes like this, be sure to consult with a lawyer once you start raking in the dough. Also, don't ask me to feel sorry for you, once you're a millionaire. I won't.

          • Start a corporation, pay yourself a big enough salary (we ARE assuming you are significantly profitable, right?), and then when you are sued, have your corporation declare bankruptcy and release the software as open source. All your money will be protected and you'll be rich.

            There are a lot of schemes like this, be sure to consult with a lawyer once you start raking in the dough. Also, don't ask me to feel sorry for you, once you're a millionaire. I won't.

            Good point! Now I'm totally going to start commercializing my ideas!

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Just sell some dot com shares. Or Shares in Flying Surfboards Inc.

              Take the investor money and pay yourself and your hoodlum posse a fat salary. The trick is to stay in business a couple of years to make it look like a failed venture, rather than outright investment fraud.

              Another good scam is to sell financial paper you engineered to crash, and then short your own paper.

              Still too much work?

              Print Trillions of QEx dollars and hand them out to your friends.

              When that stops working, try to hold the world financi

          • So the only way to have the patent system benefit you is to drain your own company of funds and toss everyone out on the street once the going gets tough? Wow. The future is depressing. Note that I don't disagree with you, but I find your notion of how to make the patent system work for you a particularly depressing one.

            • Note that I don't disagree with you, but I find your notion of how to make the patent system work for you a particularly depressing one.

              It is, I don't like it, but it shouldn't stop you from inventing. It should be noted that the above scenario is rare in practice.....most of the time your company will survive a patent onslaught.

      • by Feyshtey (1523799)
        So the question shifts from, "Why bother inventing? The risk of being sued for patent infringement... "
        To, "Why bother inventing? Someone else is just going to steal it, mass produce it, and I'll still be exactly where I am today after enriching someone else."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have been sitting on an idea for a sweet app to target a specific aspect of the media, but am having trouble pulling the trigger on development because I will almost certainly get sued. Anything that does any type of streaming is a mine-field as we have seen many times here on /. My coworkers always joke when I get up on my soap box about patent reform, but I honestly don't think they are aware of how impossible it is to innovate.

  • Innovate, dammit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:29PM (#38505140)

    'Bigger innovation labs and companies are holding back on numerous innovations until they can properly monetize them.'

    And citizens are holding on to their money until they see something worth buying. Innovate, dammit!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Small businesses can't innovate, because they get destroyed by patent infringement litigation costs whenever they try.

      Big businesses won't innovate, because they make more money from rent seeking, and their shareholders demand those returns.

      There are exceptions, of course. But don't expect either group to put their necks out just because you are tight-fisted.

      • by Dripdry (1062282)
        So pirate it, then. Build anyway. Like what Andrew Jackson said: So Congress passed a law? Let them enforce it, then! Just keep doing it. Be revolutionary, stop pandering to the law which is corrupt. Do business anyway. Enough people do it, and the law will change. Or go black market. Worked with prohibition, didn't it? Create new channels to distribute your products and ideas, people will pay for them. Ignore the broken, sluggish behemoth of corporatism and do work anyway. I know, easier said than don
  • I don't think enough variants of the same system have been regurgitated [wikipedia.org] since they broke from the G1. Who wanted a cross-carrier device when we can enjoy buying another over-priced, locked device? Consider and enjoy the long, fruitful relationship we get when we're locked in to a 2 year bonded friendship with yours and my newest BFF.....

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @02:40PM (#38505268)

    Who wants to develop cool stuff when the world is about to end?

    • by Dripdry (1062282)
      THIS. I've met a fair number of very smart people who are so overwhelmed by negative media that they simply don't do much work. They're convinced we're all screwed and the world will end. They just don't care anymore.
  • by Alex Belits (437) *

    'Bigger innovation labs and companies are holding back on numerous innovations until they can properly monetize them.'

    lol conspiracy. There is no innovation because military and entertainment, the only two areas where any innovation was done recently in US (and mostly in the world) are already completely saturated with awful ideas being implemented at ridiculously high cost.

    • by robot256 (1635039)
      I have a semi-related theory about military costs. Have you heard about all the problems with the F-22, and how they're starting to have the same kind of trouble with the F-35? Notice a similarity between that and, say, the space shuttle? What they all have in common is a ridiculously inefficient supply chain designed to please the congresscritters at the expense of any semblance of rational business and engineering practice. Now, what would happen if we consolidated the supply chains, improving both th
  • Despite what consumer spending numbers might tell you, it is also quite obvious that huge numbers of US consumers are willing and apparently have the means to spend many $1000's/yr on iPhones, iPads, pricey wireless contracts, expensive cable TV services and many other "luxury" items. All that stuff adds up quickly to many $1000's/yr... so there *is* plenty of spending and disposable income around...

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      "partner and co-founder at Seattle-based strategy consulting firm ARRYVE, told FoxNews.com. "Bigger innovation labs and companies are holding back on numerous innovations until they can properly monetize them."

      can't be any more bullshit than that! it's got seattle(let's all move to seattle and use slow modems), foxnews, douchebagly named consulting business and "they got secrrett techh in dem government caves!" all in one.

  • Consumer spending will recover, but it will not make up as large a share of the US economy as it once did. That ship has sailed. Best not lie about waiting for it to return to port.

  • Because we all know that innovation stems primarily from the "bigger innovation labs", right?

    Innovation comes from grass-roots endeavors, and always has. The paradigm is for an individual (or small group of individuals) to start a small business, build it up big, and take market share away from the big companies.

    Big companies become clogged by process and moribund. They become "risk averse", preferring to sit on their laurels and collect rent from existing product.

    The problem is that the paradigm no longer

  • Did anyone else catch the part about "hackers will target mobile phones", wow that's news. So from the whole article about the only innovation we can look forward to is from hackers attacking our phones.
  • 'Bigger innovation labs and companies are holding back on numerous innovations until they can properly monetize them.'"

    The longer they wait, the less time they will have to "properly monetize them" as the patents will run out. So, what dark clouds do we see building on the horizon?

  • We'll have to wait for consumer spending to go up before the 'flying surfboard' arrives

    How dumb is a quote like that? Well in France they actually HAVE a flying surfboard, RIGHT NOW. Way for your first "prediction" to be completely wrong. I won't bother to point out the "news" source that would publish this kind of hyper-pessimist attitude, you can fill in the blank yourselves.

    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Water-Powered-Jetpack-Boots-Rocket,news-13444.html [tomsguide.com]

  • I actaully think its going to be some sort of technical innovation that leads the economy out of the blahs. Something like the late 90's with the internet or a century ago with the automobile etc...
  • The thing about innovation is that it is, by definition, innovative, which means it's new and has not been done before. Hence, nobody sees it coming, because if they did, they would make it themselves.

    I predict that in the next few years a product will come along which will change our lives, be enormously successful financially, spawn a whole subculture, become a cultural meme, result in a slew of spinoff products and accessories and make some people very rich. I should add that I don't actually know
  • I call bullshit on the lack of buyers for flying surfboards! They get a working flying surfboard and every 50 year-old and younger out there will pawn every Apple device immediately to afford a Norrin Radd fantasy.
  • At this point the issue is less innovation limited then litigation limited.

    Combine the U.S. patent system with digital rights management and things grind to a halt.

    Nations with less limiting laws have an advantage much larger than
    we are inclined to believe. Combine with financial pressures and
    what ya see is what ya get.

  • Back to the 1830s when news took weeks to cross the globe. Most food and products were local. A man with a horse was rich.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business

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